Child ADHD and Summer Activities

Three kids in swim suits on dockDuring summer while away from school many children lose of some of their academic skills that help them to succeed at their classes. Loss of these academic skills can be even worse for a child with ADHD. As a parent, what can you do to prevent this loss during their summer vacation? What activities or outings can help? Honestly, just about anything that keeps your children thinking and engaged. Did you know that some studies have shown that kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games. 6 hours of screen time a day and possibly more because it is summer and they do not have school. For activities, try the following suggestions.

1. Play fun games with your child that enhances memory and attention. These games may include Concentration Card Game (memory), I Spy (attention), and board games (socialization, memory, graciousness, and a host of other skills).

2. Enroll your child in a summer camp that they could enjoy to boost self-esteem. Churches and community centers offer inexpensive summer camps in painting, drawing, crafts, and more. Libraries offer reading camps too. Your child can improve academically by participating in events that require math and reading.

3. Encourage physical activity and avoid too much computer and TV time. Activities such as karate and dance can be great activities for your child, as they both require psychophysical integration. Research tells us that physical activity promotes learning. The brain tends to learn more when the body is active.

4. Walks are fun for kids as they get to experience the fresh air and run around in a new environment, or giving your child a bike is a good way of keeping them active and helping them to learn about the responsibility of taking care of it.

5. If your family travels for a summer vacation talk to your kids about history, culture or geography of the new place they are visiting. Explore and do more than just the usual tourist traps, find out where the locals eat or where they go to have fun and take your children, exposure to diverse ideas helps them to learn, grow, and become more complete adults that appreciate what is around them.

6. Spend time researching your local city on the internet for fun activities for children and you are sure to find several listed and many are inexpensive or free. Local community centers are typically a good resource for fun and academic activities.

7. Purchase workbooks from teacher supply stores that are grade appropriate or talk to your child’s teacher about academic work that could prepare them for school next year. Then do a little bit of academic work each week during the summer.

8. Summer is a great time to visit museums, particularly children’s museums. Being scorching hot outside nothing is better than being indoors for a few hours while children roam, play and learn.

9. Help your children to organize and host a summer party. Often children make friends at school but lose contact with them over the summer. Plan, prepare and invite several of their school friends over for a party. They can be involved in picking out ideas, themes, foods, decorations, decorating and being responsible around the house as the party is coming together.

Remember that even though you are trying to help your little one avoid losing some academic ground over the summer, that taking a break is a good thing. Rest and recuperation can go a long way towards being motivated and ready to hit the ground running next fall.

© Copyright 2011 by Jeffrey Gallup. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Keisha Y.

    Keisha Y.

    June 2nd, 2011 at 3:35 AM

    I’m showing my age here I guess. When I was a kid the summer vacation meant you jumped out of bed earlier than you would have got yourself up on a schoolday and with a smile on your face. We gulped down breakfast and played outside until it was almost dark, coming in only to eat or get a drink.

    I know it’s not as safe a world today. Still, it blows my mind to think kids would rather sit in front of a screen for several hours a day than go outside and play! What kind of summer memories are they going to have to look back on?

  • Caroline West

    Caroline West

    June 2nd, 2011 at 3:59 AM

    I can see it now, Keisha, what those summer memories will be like for this generation.

    They will be telling the grandchildren, ” I remember the summer of 2011. I beat the last boss in…wait, what was the name of that game again?” It would be funny if it wasn’t sad.

  • Melinda

    Melinda

    June 2nd, 2011 at 4:21 AM

    Summer camp in the past has been a lifesaver for me and for my kids! I think that all of us would have gone just a little bit crazy if we had all had to spend all of the summer together cooped up with nothing to do. Sure it cost a little bit extra but the sacrifice to make it happen was worth it. I always try to pick out short term camps that last for a week or so, and focus on things that the kids have over the course of a few months or so expressed interest in. That gives them a way to explore the possibility of doing something a little different without having to make too much of a commitment to it up front.

  • TR

    TR

    June 2nd, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    I always look for summer courses for my kids that will not just occupy them but will also teach them something. Something that they cannot get in an ordinary classroom, something that will give them an edge.

    On a side note, I remember whiling my time away in front of the tv when I was little and being so lazy that when school reopens even my handwriting would have gone worse ;)

  • andi

    andi

    June 3rd, 2011 at 4:40 AM

    One thing that I have noticed is that these are children who thrive more from a set schedule, something that being out of school sometimes does not offer.
    To maintain their growth and success parents must work hard to keep this semblance of regimentation that probably helps during the school year going throughout the summer too.
    Plan activities and have these kids on a time frame the same way that they are in their classroom and normal after school activities. I think that if you do this you will see a lot better behavior during those long summer months.

  • jerome

    jerome

    June 3rd, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Kids lose interest in everything fairly quickly..So why is it that they don’t lose interest in television? Is it because it is interactive? Then would interactive and nature related summer camps be better than the conventional ones? Are those really useful?

  • Maurice Grayson

    Maurice Grayson

    June 3rd, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Parents need to set an example. They complain about their children playing video games too much, then come home at 5pm and sit in front of the TV all night until bedtime.

    How can they not see that as being the same as what the kids are doing? Both are seeking entertainment. So go find it outside-together!

  • Jeffrey S Gallup LPC

    Jeffrey S Gallup LPC

    June 9th, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Getting outside together as a family is a great idea. Teaching by example and being creative together just strengthens the family bonds.

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